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Church acknowledges, bears out the interpretation to which the Scripture lends itself most readily. Nothing has been said about the act of Participation, for that will be most readily taken for granted by those who use this book. It is sufficient to say that in the first days Communion was expected of all those who were not in any sense excommunicate.
How our own branch of the Church has interpreted our Lord's meaning.-Before showing in detail how the office itself explains the meaning of the LORD's Supper, it will not be amiss to call to mind particular expressions in which this view of the service is emphasized. When the child is asked, "Why was the Sacrament of the LORD'S Supper ordained?" he is not taught to answer, "For the strengthening and refreshing of our souls," but, For the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of Christ and of the benefits which we receive thereby." The word "remembrance" has the same meaning that it has in the New Testament where "memorial" would be probably a more intelligible and fuller rendering, bringing out the thought of calling GOD to remembrance as well as that of reminding ourselves.1
Again, three out of the five questions of self-ex
1 St. Luke xxii. 19.
amination proposed by the Catechism point to the necessity of a thankful spirit for the communicant. He must not come unless he has "a lively faith in GOD's mercy through Christ," a thankful remembrance of His Death, and is in charity with all men. A sullen, uncharitable, or discontented disposition would be out of harmony with the whole thought of the service. What is necessary is "the marriage garment; that is, "the temper of heaven, the spirit of a holy sympathy with the ways and works of GOD, the rejoicing anticipation that exults in the new scene of duty before it, . . the joy suitable to this mighty spousal of earth and heaven."1
Again, the service itself continually reminds us of this. "Above all things ye must give most humble and hearty thanks." To Him therefore, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, let us give (as we are most bounden) continual thanks." "Let us give thanks unto our LORD GOD." "It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks." "Therefore, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name." Chiefly are we bound to praise Thee." 'Feed on Him by faith with thanksgiving." 'Be thankful." "Glory be to GOD on high," etc.
1 Cp. Archer Butler's Sermons, I., p. 201.
office is Eucharistic, and the penitential parts are, as we shall see, all ordered with a view to our being able to enter into that lofty spirit of thanksgiving, which pervades the whole. It is equally true that Communion is not lost sight of. Again and again we are warned as to the necessity of penitence, faith, and charity for those who would be made one with Him, by the receiving of His Blessed Body and Blood; but there is also with this the plainest recognition of the great fact that reception is for the purpose of our entering into His life. We receive, that "we may offer up our souls and bodies to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto the Father"— that we may do all such good works as GOD has prepared for us to walk in."
OUTLINE OF THE OFFICE.
BEFORE proceeding to show how the different parts of the service are linked together so that they form one great whole, it will be well to describe it generally. There are, as we have seen, three great features standing out plainly above the rest-the Offertory, the Sanctus, and the Consecration and Oblation. These present a gradual ascent in devo
tion. The sacrifice of the body in almsgiving, and of the spirit in intercession, is the simplest step. The sacrifice of praise is more difficult. It not only demands an intelligent conception of Him Whom we praise, but a chastened spirit and purity of heart, for only "the pure in heart can see GOD." But this second ascent is still a long way from the topmost height where our LORD calls us to join Him in the pleading of His great Offering. To this, indeed, we can only be lifted by His own gift of Himself; but, that we may receive this inestimable blessing aright, we need a still higher spiritual energy, a still deeper humility than that which inspires us to offer the Sanctus. That this progress of devotion may be indicated, we have entitled the parts of the service by those names which each division of the Tabernacle bore. And there is a fitness in this; for if "the Tabernacle symbolized GOD dwelling with man in Christ," then the service which applies this great truth to our souls may fittingly bear some resemblance to it in its leading features. And if the threefold division of the Tabernacle contained "a figurative and typical representation of the three progressive stages by which the kingdom of GOD on earth arrives at its visible manifestation and ultimate completion," it may also figure the three
1S. Matt. v. 8. 2 Willis, "Worship of the Covenant," p. 96. 3 Kurtz, "Sacrificial Worship of the Old Covenant."
progressive stages by which the soul reaches its final perfection in union with the sacrificed life of Christ. Whether this be seen or not, the names "Outer Court," "Holy Place," and "Holy of Holies," will serve to emphasize the thought of gradual approach, and perhaps help to indicate some of the leading features of each part of the Office. Thus much will explain the general divisions. It will be further seen, by looking at the plan placed immediately following, that the divisions are to some extent alike. In each there is an appeal for our LORD'S help to make the offering, in each an answer to that appeal, and in each an offering by virtue of our Lord's union with us. In the first two there is, in addition, a call to devotion, supplied in the first by the Decalogue, in the second by our own Church. It only remains to be noted that the LORD's Prayer and the Collect for Purity, formerly the priest's Office of Preparation, are now also used as our own preparation for the whole service; whilst the LORD'S Prayer, the Prayer of Thanksgiving, and the Gloria in Excelsis are so far corresponding that they may be said to form a natural office of Post-Communion. With this short introduction it is hoped the plan itself will be clear.